Hermann Nitsch

9 June - 31 July 2022
  • Hermann Nitsch


    „paint is poured and splashed onto a surface and then smeared, pulpy color mass is smeared upon the picture. the painting process becomes a real happening. theatre occurs on the perspective plane. I always say that the painting of the O.M. theatre is the visual grammar of my theatre on such a surface. the intrinsic action, the intrinsic action theatre leaves the places of refuge of the painting itself and goes beyond space to total reality.“

    - Hermann Nitsch


  • Installation View, Hermann Nitsch, 2022
  • A Retrospective of Hermann Nitsch' Oeuvre
    Hermann Nitsch
    Schüttbild , 1990
    Acrylic on Canvas
    100 x 80 cm

    A Retrospective of Hermann Nitsch' Oeuvre

    Hermann Nitsch (* 1938 in Vienna, † 2022) is regarded as the decisive founder of Viennese Actionism. As an action artist, painter, composer and stage designer, he is one of the most versatile contemporary artists. His Gesamtkunst- werk, the Theater of Orgies and Mysteries, encompasses the broad spectrum of his art by appealing to all fi ve senses.


    The artist's credo was "my work should be a school of life, perception and sensation and should be experienced with all five senses"1. In this sense, the exhibition at Galerie Kandlhofer is dedicated to the presentation of diverse works from different creative phases, which invite the viewer to experience his art with all the senses by incorporating inter- active methods. The exhibited works include works from the Bayreuth Valkyrie, New and Historical Works (1960 - 2022), Graphic Works, as well as the installation of a synesthesia room that encourages a sensory experience.

  • Bayreuth Painting Action
    Herman Nitsch
    GPBF_3.Akt_middle_A, 2021
    Acrylic on Canvas
    500 x 500 cm

    Bayreuth Painting Action

    Universal artist Hermann Nitsch was invited by the Bayreuth Festival to provide scenic accompaniment for a concert version of Richard Wagner's "Die Walküre" in the summer of 2021. For all three acts, the artist conceived an extensive painting campaign, which was transformed into bright colors scene by scene with the help of ten painting assistants during the score. Over 1000 liters of paint were spilled per performance. The resulting floor and wall paintings are considered the basis for the overall installation. One of the works created in Bayreuth, in impressive dimensions (5x5m), forms the centerpiece of the exhibition at Galerie Kandlhofer. The work is framed by a number of gold-em- broidered shirts that transform the painting into an installation. In addition to the large-scale Schüttbild, other works from 2000 - 2020 consist of an extensive color palette of bright tones, with intense clusters and relief-like haptics. Just as Nitsch aspired to a music of the spheres in his music, he clustered the light of colors in his painting.

  • Installation View, Hermann Nitsch, 2022
  • Installation View, Hermann Nitsch, 2022
  • the synesthesia room
    Hermann Nitsch
    Synästhesieraum (audio visual design: Frank Gassner), 2015
    video room, four projectors, vinyl carpet 
    488 x 373 x 253 cm

    the synesthesia room

    A special feature of the exhibition is the synesthesia room (audiovisual design: Frank Gassner), which is presented for the first time in a Viennese gallery. The concept of synesthesia has inspired Nitsch again and again. He combined co- lors and sounds, painting and literature, music and architecture, movement and stillness, which can be experienced in the installation of the synesthesia room at Galerie Kandlhofer. The installation invites you to surrender to the play of colors in the pictures, enveloped by the music. The monotype tonal work on display maintains the visual simultaneity of the four projectors experienced in the video room through their packaging and distills meaning and pictorial refe- rences from it once again.


    'The thematic bracket of the moving image sequence is the synaesthetic aspect of the orgies-mysteries-theatre. Based on my experience in collaboration and the loose pictorial and cinematic concepts and conceptions of Hermann Nitsch known to me, I created a four-part video work in which the orgies-mysteries-theatre becomes comprehensible in its gesamtkunstwerk-like form. Rhythmized by the chroma of colour scales, the disciplines of the orgies-mysteries-theatre enter into intimate visual communication and lay out a broad spectrum of colours, components and thematic references. The mono-typtichonal work shown here preserves the visual simultaneity of the four projectors experienced in the video room through their packaging, and from this again distils references to meaning and image. 

     Hermann Nitsch approaches the media of film and photography almost exclusively from the direction of the naked documentation of his actions. For photography, he found with Heinz Cibulka, and for the movie with Peter Kasperak, artistically withdrawing partners. Years of personal friendship connected Hermann Nitsch with relevant representatives of experimental film such as Jonas Mekas, Peter Kubelka and Stan Brakhage. Nevertheless, with a few exceptions, there were no cinematic collaborations.'


    Text by Frank Gassner




  • Drawings & Graphic Works
    Hermann Nitsch
    O.T., 2020
    Ölkreide auf Papier
    29 x 21 cm

    Drawings & Graphic Works

    The drawings and prints are also inseparably connected to the work as a whole and are immediate parts of the work. Hermann Nitsch has been working in the field of printmaking since the 1980s and has produced an extensive oeuvre. The basis of the prints is the architectural drawing, it is the starting point and motif for the majority of the edited gra- phics. Since 1991 Hermann Nitsch worked together with Kurt Zein. This period is characterized by the impressive ex- pansion of printing possibilities, which of course had a serious impact on the results, which were produced in an ela- borate process of several editing steps. For example, printing was done on originals, on handmade paper, on sheets that were individually covered with blood or painted in an actionistic way; the colors were changed sheet by sheet in the printing process, always precisely matched, several plates were printed on top of each other in complicated pro- cedures.

    The most recent monumental work in the field of graphic art is the large-format, Hebrew-German art book LEVITIKUS, which Hermann Nitsch published together with the publisher Har-El in an edition of 16. It refers to the third book of Moses, which reports on the sacrificial rites in the temple of Jerusalem. The work is accompanied by twelve terragraphs, silkscreen prints with sand, whose material surface structure approximates the texture of the pou- ring pictures.